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Brussels, 1 June 2010

Environment: Europe's largest annual conference on biodiversity opens in Brussels

Today sees the opening in Brussels of Europe's largest annual conference on environment. This year's event, coinciding with the International Year of Biodiversity, will concentrate on the immense variety of species and ecosystems that make up the extraordinary web of life on our planet. Green Week 2010 will address the current state of biodiversity and nature, offering potential solutions to the current alarming rates of loss in some 30 sessions. The conference will also see the launch of the Business and Biodiversity platform, a new initiative to raise awareness about the business arguments for protecting biodiversity. With more than 3000 participants from EU institutions, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, public authorities, the scientific community and academia attending, Green Week 2010 is a unique opportunity for key opinion leaders, the general public and the media to learn and exchange experience and good practice.

"The world needs a reality check on the importance of biodiversity loss,” said European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik. “I hope Green Week 2010 will provide that. This conference is an ideal forum for key players in the environment field to come together and pass a message about the need for a radical change in our approach to the crisis facing biodiversity.”

Over 30 sessions and special events

Green Week 2010 will examine such issues as the current state of biodiversity and nature, EU policies on biodiversity and nature post-2010, the functioning of Natura 2000, and the mounting pressures on ecosystems. The benefits brought about by biodiversity and nature will be highlighted along with possible solutions to halt the alarming rates of loss. Discussions will also cover the economic dimension, the impact of the loss on human health and biodiversity in oceans. The week will also see the launch of a number of new biodiversity initiatives, including BISE, a new website centralising information about biodiversity in Europe, the EU's new biodiversity baseline (see IP/10/646), and a new platform for business and biodiversity (see below).

Over 50 stands will make up the colourful exhibition area. Additional events include a screening of the film Dirt! The Movie, an audiovisual show featuring Wild Wonders of Europe: Unseen, Unexpected, Unforgettable, and the annual European Business Awards for the Environment ceremony. An outdoor exhibition along the Berlaymont Esplanade will show what nature is doing for us for free, and why we cannot take it for granted.

Key speakers

Commissioner Potočnik will speak at the opening press conference at 12.30 on 1 June in the Berlaymont, before visiting the Commission’s Biodiversity Campaign at 13.15 outside the Charlemagne and opening the conference at 14.30. Commission President José Manuel Barroso will close Green Week 2010 on the morning of Friday 4 June in the Charlemagne building.

Other key speakers at Green Week 2010 include:

  • Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action

  • Karl Falkenberg, Director-General, DG Environment, European Commission

  • Ladislav Miko, Director for Nature, DG Environment, European Commission

  • Elena Espinosa, Spanish Environment Minister

  • Norbert Röttgen, German Environment Minister

  • Tineke Huizinga, Dutch Environment Minister

  • Mark J. Mwandosya, Tanzanian Minister for Water and Irrigation

  • Corinne Lepage MEP, Chair of the Parliamentary Intergroup Seas and Coasts and Vice-chair of Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

  • Kiyoshi Araki, Ambassador for COP10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

All sessions will be streamed live on the Green Week website.

A new platform for business and biodiversity

Today also sees the launch of a new technical facility to improve understanding of the importance of biodiversity in the business sphere in a transparent manner. The facility should help businesses integrate biodiversity into their core activities, and raise awareness about the strong competitive advantage to be gained by conserving biodiversity. Six major business sectors have been prioritized: agriculture, the food supply industry, forestry, extractive industries, financial sector and tourism. The B@B Platform will facilitate information and knowledge exchange among different actors, and will also host a resource centre with links to information available on the topic and outlines of best practices.

For more information:

To view the entire Green Week 2010 programme and dedicated press corner, see:

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